Ryan Hunter-Reay will drive in the Race of Champions for the third time, which provides a level of familiarity with the format, cars and competitors.
But the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner – along with the 19 other drivers from multiple motorsports disciplines – will contend with a new track layout and racing structure Nov. 20-21 at Olympic Stadium in London.
The event is divided into two sections: The ROC Nations Cup in which drivers are paired in teams and the Race of Champions for individual competition. Taped highlights will be televised from 7-8 p.m. ET Nov. 29 on CBS Sports Network.
Drivers will continue to race head to head in identical cars on the same track, so winners will be decided by driver skill. However, in previous years drivers have raced side by side on a parallel track linked by a crossover bridge. Now they will take part in an Olympic cycling-style pursuit race in which the racers will start next to each other but facing in opposite directions. At the green light they will speed off in a bid to hunt each other down.
“I got to the semifinals last year and I’m hopeful of bettering that this year,” said Hunter-Reay, Hunter-Reay, who made his Race Of Champions debut in 2012 in Thailand and also drove in the event last year in Barbados. “It’s a unique challenge to jump in and out of all the cars when you get such a short amount of seat time in each.
“I love the event and it’s an honor to be among the world’s greatest drivers. To even receive an invite is a huge compliment, and to go and compete against them is something that I cherish.”
Hunter-Reay, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has drawn two-time World Touring Car champion Jose Maria Lopez of Argentina in his first head-to-head match in the Race of Champions.
The two champions will compete under the Team Americas banner in the Nations Cup. Their first match is against Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg of Team Nordic.
Pairings for the Race of Champions:
Ryan Hunter-Reay v Jose Maria Lopez (Match A)
Pascal Wehrlein v Andy Priaulx (Match B)
Mick Doohan v Jorge Lorenzo (Match C)
Alex Buncombe v Jolyon Palmer (Match D)
Sebastian Vettel v Petter Solberg
Daniel Ricciardo v Nico Hulkenberg
Jenson Button v Felipe Massa
David Coulthard v Susie Wolff
Tom Kristensen v Nelson Piquet Jr.
Romain Grosjean v Jason Plato
Winner Match A v winner Match B
Winner Match B v winner Match D
ROC Nations Cup draw:
Team All Stars v Team Young Stars (Match A)
Romain Grosjean v Pascal Wehrlein
Jorge Lorenzo v Jolyon Palmer
Team England 1 v Team Brazil (Match B)
Andy Priaulx v Nelson Piquet Jr
Jason Plato v Felipe Massa
Team Nordic v Team Americas (Match A)
Tom Kristensen v Jose Maria Lopez
Petter Solberg v Ryan Hunter-Reay
Team Australia v Team Germany
Daniel Ricciardo v Sebastian Vettel
Mick Doohan v Nico Hulkenberg
Team England 2 v Team Scotland
Alex Buncombe v Susie Wolff
Jenson Button v David Coulthard
Winner Match A v Winner Match
Originally on IndyCar.com